Ever wondered how rats survive the winter? Well when it comes to the most hated pests’ rats can be found at the top of the list! They are dirty, carry bacteria, parasites, disease and they bite. When rats infest a home or business, they contaminate food and can cause significant damage. Pest controllers are busy all year round trying to keep rats under control, however the winter months are the busiest! The rat population is huge and constantly growing which in turn makes them a huge problem. Rats are sexually mature between the age of 4-5 weeks, and just one female can have up to six litters of around five – twelve rats in one year! As you can tell rats are incredibly successful breeders. Rats only have a life span of between 1-2 years, although their lifespan is relatively short the rate in which they reproduce means that a population of just two rats can rapidly grow to around 1,250 in the space of a year.
You may think that the cold weather in the winter months will help put a dent in the vast number of rats, but this is far from the truth. Rats are incredibly hardy animals, despite the fact that they are not able to fatten up for the winter or hibernate they still thrive.
In order to survive the winter months rats will look for a shelter that provides them with warmth and a food source. Luckily for the rats there are an abundance of man-made building that provide them with exactly what they need. When the winter arrives, rats have no choice but to leave their natural habitat and find a nice warm and dry building to build a nest. Rats aren’t fussy so any building will do, houses, office buildings, shops, barns and warehouses are a suitable. So, just because it is winter you can’t get complacent that all of your pest concerns have gone away until the summer comes back around, because in actual fact rat infestations get worse in the winter.
Where Do Rats Get Food in The Winter?
Just before winter arrives rats, much like squirrels, will begin preparing for a shortage of food. When rats find food in the Autumn months instead of eating it straight away, they will start to stockpile it so they can eat it later when food is harder to come by.
Rats are omnivores, this means that they will eat almost anything they find, from grains and fruits to insect’s human waste and even their own faeces! Many rats take advantage of the abundance of human waste and will sustain themselves entirely on that, this is another thing that makes them such a huge pest control problem.
Where Do Rats Build Nests in The Winter?
This is how rats survive the winter, by the time winter arrives rats will have found their way into a building and will have food stockpiled. Once they have done this, they will begin to build a nest. They will use a variety of soft materials such as, loft insulation, cardboard and plant materials and bunch them all together. The rats pay more attention to the location of the nest than they do the nest itself, as long as it is in a warm and dark area, they will be happy. This is something that most man-made buildings provide and why during the winter rats are such a big problem.
Signs Of A Rat Infestation
Now the winter is almost here it is important for homeowners and business owners to be extra vigilant and look out for the signs of a rat infestation. Below you will find a few of the signs you should look out for that indicate a rat infestation:
- Smears – any greasy marks found on skirting boards, walls and floors indicate that a rats body has come into contact with them
- Droppings – rat dropping look like dark brown rice so seeing any of them indicate a rat infestation
- Nesting Materials – If you find any shredded materials such as, cardboard, paper, plants or rubbish then this is a good sign you probably have a rat infestation
- Footprints – in dusty rooms you may notice footprints and tail marks where the rats have been
- Damage – If you notice gnaw marks on furniture, walls pipes or anything hard then this is a good indicator of a rat infestation.
If you have noticed signs of a rat infestation or would like to find out how you could prevent a rat infestation then contact STP Pest Control today – 0121 459 3997